Synergy Demonstrates Clustered Computing Running Multiple OS Via StarFabric

3/11/2004 - Synergy Microsystems, Inc. (Synergy) announced that it recently demonstrated a clustered-computing solution in which three real-time operating systems (RTOS) ran concurrently via a high-speed fabric interconnect. The proof-of-concept prototype substantiates the feasibility of applying different RTOS assets to different functional requirements in large defense platforms.

In an embedded industry first, five single-board computers, three running Linux SMP, one running Windriver’s VxWorksTM Tornado 5.0, and one running Green Hills’ IntegrityTM, communicated over StarGen’s ultra-high-speed StarFabricTM interconnect. The three systems shared processing capability and memory resources without the need for special protocols or customized middleware.

The demonstration of the Synergy PowerMatrixTM clustered-computing system was conducted at the Real-time Computer (RTC) Conference, held February 26 in Phoenix, AZ. Although StarFabric has already been released on VxWorks and Linux, this was the industry’s first StarFabric implementation on INTEGRITY and the first time that three operating systems have communicated and shared resources over StarFabric in a single chassis.

Synergy CEO Tom Powell said the PowerMatrix demo showed the tremendous flexibility available to defense designers for next-generation systems. “Multiple RTOS, clustered-computing solutions allows system designers to apply the precise price/performance combinations they require to support the various subsystems in a military application. For a threat-deterrence platform, for example, target analysis and fire control functions require very hard real-time OSes such as VxWorks or INTEGRITY, while operator-interface graphics and keyboard functions require a less deterministic and thus, a less expensive OS such as open-standard Linux. Our solutions let designers combine compute assets to meet exact requirements at each functional level.” “The PowerMatrix demo is a testament to Synergy’s strategy of integrating emerging technologies into cutting-edge solutions for customers whose applications must leverage innovation gains within weeks, versus months or years, of a technology rollout,” stated Powell.

The PowerMatrix demo combines three recent Synergy innovations: (1) A new StarFabric PO backplane overlay for seamless intra-chassis connectivity of up to 32 computing nodes, delivering an aggregate throughput of 1.6 GB per second, (2) drivers and APIs to run StarFabric under INTEGRITY, and (3) interoperability between the three most implemented embedded operating systems in a single, integrated multi-computing cluster. Powell stated that all of these innovations are open standards-based, “enabling customers to realize distinct performance gains without being tied to expensive legacy proprietary systems.”

The PowerMatrix clustered computing solution is available in either a 5-slot or 8-slot configuration. The in-chassis design can scale to a full 32 compute nodes (up to 8 quad boards) that can communicate at very high bandwidths. Synergy’s performance-enhancing software enables an application to run in a seamless environment that permits the underlying operating systems to send and receive messages through a common library of calls and share resources at the same time. “The system enables designers to start small and scale up quickly for massive data-computation power. Our benchmark tests showed a highly linear performance gain as we powered the 5-slot system up from one CPU to 10,” said Powell.

PowerMatrix running under Linux is now shipping, with VxWorks and INTEGRITY support to follow in Q2 2004. For more information and pricing, please contact Synergy 888.479.6374.

About Synergy
Synergy Microsystems, Inc. ( specializes in the design, manufacture and integration of single- and multi-processor, single-board computers for VME and CompactPCI systems to meet the needs of demanding real-time applications in military, aerospace, DSP, and industrial/commercial markets. Synergy has a long track record of extracting the highest possible performance from current and emerging SBC technologies, then supporting these technologies through extended product lifecycles. In business since 1985 under the original ownership, the corporation is privately held, with facilities in San Diego, CA. and Tucson, AZ.

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